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Pieter-Jan De Pue’s The Land of the Enlightened premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this week, where it received strong reviews from international and local press. Up next for De Pue’s debut feature is the Rotterdam International Film Festival.
The Land of the Enlightened depicts a group of Kuchi children who wage their own mini-wars amid the daily madness of war-stricken Afghanistan. De Pue shot the film’s poetic images in various regions in Afghanistan, working for more than seven years on the project.
Amigo’s, a brand-new fiction series about five former inmates who start a restaurant, is part of this year’s Series Competition at the International Festival of Audiovisual Programs (FIPA) in France. The Panorama line-up also includes Rudi Vranckx’s current affairs reportage My Jihad.
The 10-episode miniseries Amigo’s tells the tragi-comic story of five former inmates who start a restaurant in a one-time brothel, planning to earn a living in an honourable way. However, they soon discover that doing the right thing isn’t always easy and are forced to face demons from their past.
Pieter-Jan De Pue’s debut feature The Land of the Enlightened is one of eight films selected to compete in this year’s revamped Tiger Awards Competition at the Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR, 27 January – 7 February). De Pue’s docudrama about Afghan children is to have its European premiere at the Festival.
Belgica, the new film by Broken Circle Breakdown director Felix van Groeningen, is set to have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival (21-31 January) in Utah. A second film from Flanders, Pieter-Jan De Pue’s debut film The Land of the Enlightened, premiers in the Festival’s Documentary Competition.
Scripted by van Groeningen and Arne Sierens, Belgica is the story of two brothers who start a bar in the midst of Belgium’s nightlife scene but get carried away by its success. Stef Aerts (Oxygen, Cub) and A Band-frontman Tom Vermeir take the lead. Belgian electronic/rock band Soulwax is responsible for the film’s original score.
Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah’s second feature film Black has been selected for the official competition at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, which takes place from 13-29 November. The contemporary Romeo & Juliet story will have its European première in Estonia. The festival programme also includes Benjamin Deboosere’s Blue Birth, showing with Gust Van den Berghe’s Blue Bird, on which the documentary is based.
Black premiered in Toronto, taking home the festival’s Discovery Award, followed by sold-out screenings at the Film Fest Ghent where the film won the Audience Award. This November, the directing duo’s film travels to Tallinn where Black is to have its European premiere in the main competition of the Black Nights Film Festival.
This year’s International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) presents a batch of new and recent documentary work by Marie Brumagne & Bram Van Cauwenberghe, Sarah Vanagt, Dries Depoorter, Isabelle Tollenaere and Rachida El Garani. Dutch-Flemish co-production A Family Affair opens the Festival on November 18.
Into Darkness by Rachida El Garani has been invited for both the Student Competition and the Kids & Docs Competition at IDFA. The director’s graduation short is about Mohamed, an 11-year-old Moroccan boy whose only dream it is not to turn blind, as have 11 of his family members. Living in poverty and excluded from society, the deeply religious family tries to keep their hopes and dreams alive.
Maria Tarantino’s Our City is one of 10 documentaries shortlisted for Les Magritte du Cinéma, Belgium’s French-speaking industry awards. A lyrical portrait of Brussels, the film is also the only Flemish film selected for official competition at the International Film Festival of French-Speaking Film in Namur, Belgium, where it was awarded the Special Prize of the Jury.
Our City is a kaleidoscopic portrait and shows Brussels, the capital of Europe, to be a city of concrete cages wrapped in glass, planned by businessmen and politicians, set in motion by construction workers and animated by office people. But, in the narrow spaces just beyond the reach of bureaucracy, lies a Brussels that still breathes.
Pieter Van Hees’s crime thriller Waste Land and Peter Krüger’s poetic docu-drama N – The Madness of Reason were the main winners at this year’s Ensors, the awards celebrating Belgian cinema from Flanders, taking home four and three Ensors respectively.
Waste Land won Best Script, Best Supporting Actor (Peter Van den Begin) and Best Supporting Actress (Babetida Sadjo). Waste Land’s success was not a huge surprise, as the film also had the highest number of nominations. But it was the docu-drama N: The Madness of Reason that grabbed the top honour: Best Film.
Cafard by Jan Bultheel and Reach for the Sky by Steven Dhoedt and Choi Wooyoung are to premiere at this year's Busan International Film Festival (1-10 October). This as part of the Wide Angle: Animation and the Wide Angle: Documentary Competition programs respectively.
Cafard, which received its world premiere at this year's Film Festival of Ostende, Belgium, is based on historical facts. The story of this animated feature with a graphic novel look and feel starts in 1914. While Jean Mordant wins the Wrestling Champion of the World title in Buenos Aires, his daughter Mimi is violently abused by German soldiers in Ostend. Determined to avenge this crime Jean, along with his coach and young nephew, enrols in the prestigious Armoured Car Division (AMC). War is ruthless, however, and he and his friends embark on a dramatic journey that will ultimately drag them around the world.
Maurits Wouters’s experimental documentary The Movement of Phill Niblock has been invited to FIDMarseille, the International Film Festival of Marseille (30 June – 6 July). The film has its world premiere as part of the First Films programme.
The film is a portrait of drone-based composer, structural filmmaker and New York 1960s icon/curator Phill Niblock. In creating a portrait of Niblock, Wouters also aims to capture the zeitgeist of downtown Manhattan in the 1960s and 1970s.